Population regulation mechanisms in partridges and the use of computer simulation models.
This author discusses possible wider applications of his recently published partridge population model (Potts 1980).
The technique of simulating population fluctuations with the use of computer models has been very useful in studies of the factors which limit grey partridge (Perdix perdix) density.
Attention is drawn to the fundamental and practical differences between density-dependent factors which regulate the density of game populations about a long-term mean and density-independent factors which disturb the density from its long-term mean. The former are more important in management whereas the latter are usually attributable, one way or another, to the weather.
Simulation modelling was used by Morris (1963) in his study of the spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana) and it is not often realised that his frequently used technique 'key factor analysis' was only a means to this end.
Population models will, and probably should, dominate game research through the 1980's. They will help to identify the best strategies for management, especially since compensatory 'mortality' is often important and given that there is a need to quantify the effects of varying rates of harvest as well as of losses to modern methods of land use.